“The A’s can clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Rangers, and they can clinch the AL West with a sweep over the Rangers.”
If you had told me I would be saying those words anytime in 2012, I would’ve thought you were crazy. Yet here we are, as the A’s magic number has dwindled down to one with three games to play. Jarrod Parker looks to jumpstart a celebration with a solid outing tonight, while Martin Perez looks to clinch the AL West for the Rangers.
Perez struggled mightily in his last outing against the A’s, giving up five earned runs and failing to get out of the first inning. He got ahead of the count occasionally, but he left pitches over the plate, and the Athletics pounced on him. Parker struggled his last time out, too, but he kept the damage to a minimum and picked up his 12th win. The rookie also boasts an impressive 3.44 ERA.
Parker isn’t known for striking hitters out, but when the Rangers got to him early, he starting attacking the zone, getting ahead of counts and forcing weak, two-strike contact or striking out the overaggressive Rangers. Parker scattered just one hit in eight innings in his first outing against the Rangers, so he has decent stats against Texas this year.
The righty will look to contain Mike Napoli and company, who have done well lately. Texas’ bats exploded against Ervin Santana and the Angels, and Napoli plated six in the series finale. Josh Hamilton looks to take the league lead in home runs, as he is tied with Miguel Cabrera at 43.
Oakland isn’t looking to hit home runs, but they’re looking to win. Stephen Drew, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson and others are swinging hot bats, and one more offensive outburst will have Oakland packing their bags for the postseason. However, they don’t want to play in the Wild Card game. A sweep would net the A’s one of the top two seeds in the American League, meaning they would have a maximum of three home games in the ALDS.
Can Oakland win tonight, and clinch a playoff berth? Will the Angels lose to the Mariners, which will also clinch a playoff berth? Find out by watching the game at 7:05 PM PT. Here are the lineups for both teams.
1. Ian Kinsler, Second Base
2. Elvis Andrus, Shortstop
3. Josh Hamilton, Center Field
4. Adrian Beltre, Designated Hitter
5. Nelson Cruz, Right Field
6. Michael Young, Third Base
7. David Murphy, Left Field
8. Mike Napoli, Catcher
9. Mitch Moreland, First Base
Martin Perez, Pitcher
1. Coco Crisp, Center Field
2. Jonny Gomes, Designated Hitter
3. Yoenis Cespedes, Left Field
4. Chris Carter, First Base
5. Josh Reddick, Right Field
6. Josh Donaldson, Third Base
7. Stephen Drew, Shortstop
8. Derek Norris, Catcher
9. Adam Rosales, Second Base
Jarrod Parker, Pitcher
What do I think will happen? I think Perez will get rocked, leading the way for a 6-3 A’s win. Expect Parker to turn in another nice outing, and expect the A’s to be spraying bottles of champagne all over the place.